This last Saturday the Autumn Autism Carnival was held at Wheeler Farm. My son's preschool teacher informed us of it, and recommended that we pre-register for the event. We had thought about going before, but was unsure of how our son would handle it. In the end, we decided to go. I'm very glad we did.
First off, the parking was VERY WELL MANAGED! I couldn't believe it! It took a while to get parked because each car was individually lead to a parking spot. Unlike other parking experiences for events in the past, this one made sure everyone was well placed, and anyone could leave when the time came.
Registration was not long, and my son got a t-shirt for the occasion. We then went directly to the information booths. Here, I was surprised. There were so many different charter schools out there that offer Autism classes... and I was only aware of one up here at the University. I don't have their information with me now, or I would post each one with links (that will be another post), but needless to say our son has a lot of options if needed once he leaves pre-school. There were also organizations there that provide assistance for families with an autistic child.
The games were neat, though our son was not too excited to play with many (other than those with water for him to play in). Later we found out it was because he had a cold, which wiped him out for the weekend and yesterday. Still, he enjoyed himself, and didn't have a melt down. There were plenty of games, a couple of them were even duplicated to allow for shorter lines.
Lunch was provided, though I don't think there was enough seating space for all. We had hot dogs, chips, water, gummi fruit for our son, and cupcakes for dessert. The food was complimentary for those who registered early.
The staff were excellent, particularly since at least one time they were sent out to find a child that had run off. I assume the child was found (I didn't hear anything on the news that night), and they were quick and willing to respond. They were also representing several organizations, each sponsoring an activity. I was amazed, and even touched by the number of organizations that were present at the Carnival. It's nice to know so many other people feel compassion for those who are inherently different by birth.
The day was a great day, until we went to the doctor's office with our sons, both of which had a cold. Jonathan was winding down that night from all the fun and excitement, and as such would run around the lobby. The only other people there gave cold, withering looks, and the older woman turned to her granddaughter and said we needed to "control our son". I had even explained that he had autism, but it didn't seem to phase her. So the day progressed from the best experience for my son, to one that left me fuming. Oh well, perhaps one day I'll learn to let those comments go.
At any rate, for those who live in the area of Salt Lake City, I would highly recommend attending the Autumn Autism Carnival. The information provided is very helpful, and the experience is definitely positive. It's great to meet other families with similar experiences, and similar concerns in a non-threatening environment.